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Old 12-03-2008, 02:22 PM   #1
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why is dementia so rapid?

i just dont understand the deterioration my mother is going thru. she has only been in this nursing home for a couple of weeks. this past monday she took off her pants in the dining room and went to the bathroom on the chair. the nurses told me sh thought the chair was a toilet. i cant possibly imagine her doing this. i was in such total shock and still am. i told my mom always tell someone when you need to go. she even took off her depends. she was at my house last week and wasnt this confused. what is happening. i am so upset. i dont know what to do.

 
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Old 12-03-2008, 03:18 PM   #2
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Re: why is dementia so rapid

You are seeing the real cognitive ability that your Mom has. When they are "home", in familiar surroundings, they function on their past memories. When put into a new situation they are lost just because of the newness of the situation. But it does give you insight into what would happen if something unusual happened.... such as an accident, a fire, an intruder.

At home she functions on rote routine instilled long ago. In the new setting she doesn't have that. She needed to go to the bathroom. For you and I that is so simple. For her it is a major undertaking. She recognized she needed to go, she even got her pants down and remembered she needed to sit.... but beyond that she was lost. She just found a place to sit down and go.

There is not much you can do because that is the cognitive level of your Mom at this time. My Dad did something similar when he first arrived at AL. Now that he has been there a while he knows where to go as long as he is in his room...... but he still gets confused when outside of the room.

I worked in LTC for about 8 years. One of the striking things I noticed was that every family of dementia patients swore that Mom/Dad got worse when they moved to our facility. Mom could function just fine at home and now she can not maintain in an apartment. Dad would putter around the house all day and be fine but he seems so lost now that he is in the nursing home. Mom never did that when she was at home. Dad could find the bathroom when he was home. I hear it over and over..... so know it is what it is. It is the dementia showing it's full grasp on your Mom. It is not something that you can fix. She may get a little better as she adjust to the facility. With repetition and time she will figure out where how to do thing there as well. But she will never be at the level you thought she was at when she was at "home" in her familiar surroundings.

Yet there is no way to take them back home. If a fire breaks out, she will not know to get out of the house. That actually happened to Mom and Dad. A computer back up batter supply overheated because Dad plugged the vacumn into it. The house filled with smoke. The lights were flickering on and off. Mom walked outside to flip the main electrical breakers... making it all the worse... but Mom nor Dad has the cognitive ability to know they needed to get OUT of the house. Luckily it only burned some carpet and the wall before putting itself out..... but WOW. Those are the kinds of incidents that they will be faced with at home and they can handle them no easier than your Mom did toileting herself.

The staff is trained to deal with these situations. They do understand and you have no reason to be embarassed or guilty. Your Mom can't help it. They know that and you need to know that too. It is just part of this horrific disease that takes over those we love.

Hope this explains a little.......

Love, deb

 
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Old 12-03-2008, 04:57 PM   #3
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Re: why is dementia so rapid

I'm sorry this happened and I can well understand how it devastated you. I agree that the first few weeks at a NH are the hardest, there is a lot of adjusting to be done. (Some NHs don't allow the family to come and visit for a month for that reason.) But usually the patient settles in and everything goes along smoothly.

It is an awful disease. My Mom had it, and died of it almost a year ago ...

Love,

Martha

 
Old 12-04-2008, 03:51 PM   #4
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Re: why is dementia so rapid

thank you for letting me vent. i totally understand its a new situation for my mother. this dementia makes me so sick. very soon they will be moving my mother to another room(semi-private). she will have to get used to that and i now understand this will probably set her back. she is still on medicare now and when that is up we start private pay. i will post again, but the sadness i feel is sometimes so overwhelming. on the other hand, i think i am having more good days than bad knowing she is taken care of. now i worry about my dad. it never ends.

 
Old 12-04-2008, 07:40 PM   #5
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Re: why is dementia so rapid

We do understand DebbieG. It doesn't get easier but you do figure out how to deal with it a little better. Venting here is a great way to let out the stress and get encouragement as well. So keep typing.... Grab a stack of towels..... and pour yourslef a tall drink.....

Love, deb

 
Old 12-05-2008, 10:58 AM   #6
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Re: why is dementia so rapid

Hi Debbie g, I am fairly new to all this but I can definetly relate to the sadness and depression while watching someone you care about unable to function as they used to. It seems there is alot of support and good advice here to help you through.

After I read your post, I remember on Thanksgiving, when we went to my brother-in-laws house how my MIL acted as if she was afraid to move from the chair she was sitting in. Someone took her in to the other room to see her new great grandchild, but she wanted to go right back to that same chair. Now I know why. Now I know why she gets seemingly upset when I move things. I am glad you posted this.

God bless,
Darla

 
Old 12-14-2008, 05:50 PM   #7
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Re: why is dementia so rapid

Quote:
Originally Posted by DGabriel10 View Post
You are seeing the real cognitive ability that your Mom has. When they are "home", in familiar surroundings, they function on their past memories. When put into a new situation they are lost just because of the newness of the situation.
This post was very helpful to me! I can't tell you how guilt-ridden dh andI have felt over the past month and a half because his grandmother was better when she first got here and seems to have declined. I know deep down that it's the transition, but we feel like we're never doing enough to make her happy or that she doesn't have a good life.

She is physically weaker and stressed out a lot and doesn't joke occasionally like she did the first week or two that she was here. It feels like she's settled in...to a depression and worse state! We know she's getting her medication OK now and eating pretty well, but it's so awful to see her just sitting there ALL the time, looking lost. She IS!

I feel like we need to give ourselves a LOT more time to adjust than I had assumed in the beginning and that to some degree she will get used to it here. This was a situation with no other options so the responsibility weighs heavily on us and we want to do the best for her. It's hard when she seems to worsen, even temporarily!

Anyhow, thanks for this post because it did help! lol

 
Old 12-15-2008, 12:11 AM   #8
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Re: why is dementia so rapid

Don't feel guilty because you did the right thing, opened your home and your hearts, and are making sure that your hubby's grandmother has a safe and loving place to stay. What has been taken from her was taken by the disease and not by you.... and you can't give back what the disease has taken from her.

She could be suffering from depression. It is fairly common in dementia patients. My Mom, who had never been depressed in her life developed chronic depression when she realized that something was "not right" in her head. Depression medication has been helpful.

It has been just over 14 months since Mom and Dad moved to AL. After a few months Dad settled in. He thinks he is in a cabin on a hill. He loves the mountains and they live on the third floor. Or he thinks he has taken Mom on a long vacation in a nice hotel. Other times he thinks it is home because he has his favorite painting and chair. Mom has settled in as well. She is sure that the confusion in her head is caused by "that place". If she could just go home she would be ok. This is the best she can do at this time and we know that is the best place for her because she cannot maintain at home let alone take care of Dad.

You have to weigh the benefits against the down side. Your hubby's grandmother is getting her meds, getting good meals, is well taken care of, and obviously loved. You are doing all you can.... it is the disease that is taking her away from you not anything you are doing. There is no perfect solution in the dementia world and there is no instruction manual to tell you what to do. There are only loving caregivers doing the very best they can. Remember that it is the disease that has taken the good live from her.... not you!!!

Love, deb

 
Old 12-15-2008, 03:15 PM   #9
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Re: why is dementia so rapid

i am glad you brought this up again. i think my mom is now filled with anxiety. she is scared of everything in the nursing home. last night our family took my mom out to dinner for asian food. she was wonderful. she ate more than she has for months and was not as distracted as she is in the nursing home. i want to do it more often, but winter is here and today was 10 degrees! i was so nervous about my mother being in public, but it turned out wonderful. i dont know how long that will last.

 
Old 12-15-2008, 03:45 PM   #10
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Re: why is dementia so rapid

That's the point Debbie.... you never know how it will turn out. Today we can take Mom out and she's fine. Tomorrow we can take her out and end up taking her back to AL early because she can't handle the outside world. It is the disease and how they respond to the confusion in their head at the moment.

I just got off the phone with Mom. I think you all know the wheel chair story. Dad needed one after his AFib attack and several falls. He used it a couple of times and then the dinning room was close for a rampant virus. By the time he needed to use it again, he was walking better. So Mom threw a fit and sent it back. They brought it back and she sent it back again. He fell again and used the wheel chair one time after that. Then she sent it back again. Yesterday his knee really did hurt so Mom went and demanded they bring up a wheel chair. Last night she didn't know why it was there and sent it back again. She just told me that she didn't understand why they didn't have a wheel chair for Dad to use !!!!!!ARG!!!!!!!! Bottom line..... "that place" just doesn't listen to her!!! (you gotta laugh!)

When you see that you realize why they have issues with where ever they are. It's not the location.... it's the fog that lives in their head that creates what you see.

Love, deb

 
Old 12-16-2008, 05:24 PM   #11
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Re: why is dementia so rapid

hey deb, you are so right. what a fog it is. my mother wont sleep nights no matter what sleeping pill they give her. she goes into other peoples rooms and takes things during the night. luckily, everything is labled. i dont know if we should get her new dentures because they are always missing. what a horrible thing to see her without teeth. i am also going out of town in 2 days for 12 days and i feel so guilty. i clean her room when i am there-putting things back where they belong. my father doesnt do that. i can ask my brother, though. today i found her shoe in the toilet and she told me the nurse did it............... its funny, but so sad.

 
Old 12-17-2008, 07:16 AM   #12
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Re: why is dementia so rapid

Debbie, your Dad and your brother are there. They can take care of what needs to be done. Your Mom will be cared for and will be just fine. Somebody will retrieve the shoes from the toilet if you are not there. Drop the guilt in the trash beside the door as you leave and go have yourself a phantastic time. Enjoy and renew yourself. Then you will be in a better frame of mind to help Mom when you return. I wish for you a wonderful trip!!

Love, deb

 
Old 12-17-2008, 09:12 AM   #13
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Re: why is dementia so rapid

Have a great trip and do not worry about your Mom..she will be fine. Let others take their turn. Relax and get yourself fueled up for future hassles with her.

Love,

Martha

 
Old 12-17-2008, 10:29 AM   #14
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Re: why is dementia so rapid

"get yourself fueled up for future hassels with her"...... What a great way to think about it Martha. So our vacation is for our loved ones That is definitely a guilt buster!!!

Love, deb

Last edited by Gabriel; 12-17-2008 at 10:30 AM.

 
Old 12-17-2008, 12:40 PM   #15
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Re: why is dementia so rapid

Debbie, drop the guilt with the shoe in the toliet. Let someone else flush it out! Your mom has no concept of time and she won't even know that you have been gone, I'm sorry to say. For all she knows it could be a minute or a moment or a week. When you leave just say see you soon! and she won't even know the difference. And that is so heart breaking. I know how hard it is. But look as it as a time to charge your batteries to e able to charge forward on Planet Azheimer with all of the strange things that your Mom will find to do.

Your Mom puts her shoes in the toliet. My Mom decided that none of the people in the home were paying their rent on time and that she (my mom) owned the building, and it was time for them to get out-like right now. Well, right now was 2 am. She started going around pulling people out of their beds by their arms. Both men and women! By this point, Mom was only about 105 lbs. herself and she was just yanking people out of their deep sleep and telling them to get their clothes and get out. If they couldn't pay their rent, they dind't need to stay there any more! By the time the staff caught up with her she had dragged 9 people out of their bed. That caused a bit of an uproar to say the least. So I got a call for approval to admisiter extra meds. By the time they thought they got everyone settled down and back in bed, they turned around and Mom was starting down another hall! You just never know what goes on....so enjoy your vacation....

 
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